Ultima ratio regum (The final argument of kings)

Melissa Draper melissa at meldraweb.com
Sun Aug 12 05:24:09 UTC 2007

Anthony Vickers wrote:
> Melissa Draper <melissa at meldraweb.com> wrote:
>> Au contraire. Your accusations that the ops were bullying was, in fact,
>> bullying. Was your intent to intimidate us from acting, lest we lose
>> face? As a long-time regular, you would be aware that it wouldn't be the
>> first time it has happened. The "Let me do as I please, or you lose my
>> patronage" line gets used on us daily.
>> If intimidation was your intent, it is much the same card that motorists
>> try to play to parking inspectors, and we both know that rarely ends
>> well for the motorist.
> I really don't believe in intimidation. My only intent was to point
> out the context, then that you were bullying when you refused to hear
> argument and threatened people with kicks if they continued to use the
> 'n-word' as you put it.

I heard the argument, and it holds no creed. The use of a word in a game
holds no value to an argument. We do not allow -offtopic to be a place
of discussion for the various unsavory activities of questionable
legality in the Grand Theft Auto games either.

> To be clear, the word in question is Nazi.
> Most people when hearing or reading 'n-word' don't think Nazi but
> something entirely different and far less acceptable and so it's
> important to clarify.

You had already established the word in question. I did not feel a need
to use that word further.

> To re-iterate, using the word in the context of a video game that
> actually features Nazis or, for example, a war film featuring them or
> referencing them in an historical context should at least be
> tolerable. Calling someone a Nazi is far from acceptable and shouldn't
> be tolerated. That wasn't the circumstance though, to my knowledge,
> no-one called anybody anything.

To reiterate, a cultural reference does not make it ok to discuss
something horrendous. Nor does it make it acceptable to glorify a
despicable regime of history as the particular reference in question does.

> I was using no such line with regard to my patronage. I've never done
> that. It is now withdrawn and only after the event is it declared. No
> threats and this is not an appeal. I just wish to point out the
> consequence of your actions. I don't expect you to respect my opinion,
> it's most obvious you don't. Some might though.
>> I find it quite offensive that you insinuate that we do this for fun. I
>> have the n-word in my highlights list so that if I am around, I can do
>> my best to discourage the abuse of it. Discussing it in terms of silly
>> video game characters (leather-clad n-word vixens) is highly
>> disrespectful, as this completely trivialises the terror that the
>> group's reign brought upon millions.
> I insinuate nothing. I believe in stating things clearly as I see
> them. When you started out saying you'd kicked someone elsewhere for
> using that word and then when you threatened to kick the next person
> to use it. I saw it as bullying and said so. Whether you were right or
> wrong, your approach to the issue was threatening from the outset.

I am assuming you do not log, or else you would be more accurate in your
description of the incident. My first line was:

Aug 11 11:36:39 <elkbuntu>	aubade, as i've just finished telling someone
in #ubuntu+1, that n-word is not welcome in these channels

The channel then descended into mockery about it, such as:

Aug 11 11:38:15 <JesusOnStilts>	and it's not iek they killed EVERYONE

Another op weighed into the situation, making it unnecessary for me to

Aug 11 11:38:16 <tonyyarusso>	spec: But using it out of context is
misleading and disrespectful.

Aug 11 11:38:49 <tonyyarusso>	spec: okay, occasionally funny in some
places, but, um, not here please

When people persisted to push the issue, i gave myself ops as a
secondary warning:

Aug 11 11:38:55 <elkbuntu>	spec, seinfeld references do not make it ok
Aug 11 11:38:59 *	ChanServ gives channel operator status to elkbuntu

And gave another verbal warning:

Aug 11 11:39:16 <elkbuntu>	next person to say the word, since there has
been plently of warning, will be evicted

At this point, despite two people (tonyyarusso and myself) explaining
that the reference was unappropriate, and a mob jeering and
intentionally 'pushing the limits', you accused me of bullying.

People, including yourself, then try to validate the use of the word,
despite it being in a historically inaccurate way, as stopping it being
erased from history. I can assure you that the women in history under
the regime were not 'leather clad vixens'. I pointed this out in not so
many word.

At this point, a third op, mneptok, joined in the discussion, and seeing
that gentle persuasion was not working, opped himself and warned in caps
for the discussion to end.

You again played the 'bullying' card, which by this time had worn thin,
and only served to incite the mob and exacerbate the situation further.
You were removed for this.

> I understand that you would highlight the word as I'm sure many use it
> to be offensive. Pouncing on it and imposing a blanket ban like that
> was over-sensitive and inappropriate. I consider you intelligent
> enough so expect you to understand the context of the word's use, it
> wasn't abused.

I am glad you consider me intelligent. I do understand the context of
the word's use, and I am also aware that the context in which it was
used was historically inaccurate and because of this, disrespectful. If
you want to preach against 'wiping out the memory of a time in history
that should be remembered', please choose historically accurate examples
to champion.

>> The initial intervention was a mere statement that the n-word was not
>> welcome in #*ubuntu* channels. The actions of yourself and others you
>> egged on, spiraled it down further.
> The initial statement was that you'd kicked someone elsewhere for
> using that word. I egged no-one on. I spoke only to you and at that in
> order for you to understand the context. Let me assure you, there
> isn't a conspiracy of users out to get at you or if there is, I'm not
> part of it. I merely saw an injustice and couldn't stand by and watch
> it continue. It was the Ops' manner that spiralled things down. Not my
> actions.

I'll repeat my log excerpt from earlier (with bonus emphasis): Aug 11
11:36:39 <elkbuntu>	aubade, as i've just finished *telling someone* in
#ubuntu+1, that n-word is not welcome in these channels

>> Sure, the n-word may be in a game about those characters of history.
>> Mind you, I can find many books about that group and it's leader as
>> well, not to mention the reference in Seinfeld that also involves soup.
>> These references do not make the word ok. There are games around about
>> murder, gang-wars, and drugs too. Discussions about these are equally
>> frowned upon.
>> If there needs to be a discussion on these topics, there are *plenty* of
>> other places where it could be taken. There is always ##politics, or
>> #offtopic which is where general offtopic-for-offtopic discussion is
>> directed.
> The topic had closed. It was merely brushed over. A statement to the
> effect that the game featured Nazi vixens clad in leather and there it
> was. Gone. You re-opened it to classify the word as taboo.

This does not make the warning any less valid. Much the same way as I am
not always able to be in a channel the precise moment someone posts a
spam link. Just because they may leave the channel does not deem it
unnecessary to prevent a re-occurrence. Prevention of a re-occurrence
was my intent in this situation.

> I should
> point out that the well respected and family oriented bbc doesn't
> agree with your stance on censoring this word, even on a children's
> website...
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4170000/newsid_4170400/4170475.stm

Considering the BBC are biased against the open source world, I would
hardly advise using them as a role model. Meanwhile, just because
someone else does something stupid, doesn't make copying them any less so.

> I agree it can be offensive if it's directed at someone. Otherwise
> you're either being overly sensitive or overly zealous in exercising
> censorship.

It can be offensive even if not directed at someone. Your own argument
calls for 'remembering' the history. I find inaccurate representations
of history to be offensive, as they diminish and mock the true memory of
events. Doing so in this situation is prone to be offensive to both
survivors, and those who are ashamed of their nation's history.

>> We also have our guidelines, and these take the freenode guidelines one
>> step further. The Ubuntu channels, including #ubuntu-offtopic, are also
>> governed by the Code of Conduct with which I am almost certain you are
>> familiar.
> Yes I am aware of the Code of Conduct. To my knowledge, I've never breached it.
>> I regret to inform you that this was *not* a case of 'throwing one's
>> weight around'. If you refer to the act of 'giving oneself ops', then
>> this is a kind of visual warning. We warned verbally, and when this was
>> ignored and the trolling continued, we op'd. It is out of politeness
>> that we gave these warnings.
>> The rebellious behaviour of those in the channel had turned to mob
>> trolling. In this situation, it would have been perfectly acceptable to
>> remove all those who were misbehaving. We did not even do this -- as we
>> would have been within procedure to have done. If we were 'throwing
>> weight around', we would have.
>> However, if you wish to discuss politeness, you may want to consider
>> your own actions. You knew you were stirring trouble, yet you rudely
>> continued. You accused us of bullying when we were merely doing our jobs
>> in keeping the channel sane. This was *not* polite.
> I still see it as throwing weight around. I saw nothing polite about
> it. You gave threats, you wanted your way and that was that. Woe
> betide anyone to disobey you. You would hear no argument about the
> context and called in re-enforcements. This is where things really
> declined into rudeness and bullying, Mneptok saying "Right. This F-ing
> stops. Now!" and then undertaking to kick people at his whim was most
> inappropriate and bullish. I was astonished at the behaviour of both
> of you.

Likewise, I still see your behaviour the same way. I gave warnings, not
threats. I heard the arguments and responded to them. When the channel
got to a point of mass rebellion, the actions that myself and mneptok
took were necessary although the 'F-ING' was probably an excess.

> I merely pointed out three things;
> 1.The context of the use of the word didn't warrant its censorship.

Discouraging the use of a word in disrespectful situations is not
censorship. My choosing to not say the word is not censorship.

> 2.You were bullying.

If I was bullying, do you really think I would have taken the bull that
you and the others dished out? Heck, if I was bullying, I would merely
have removed aubade with no warning or explanation.

> 3.Mneptok was bullying.

He came in when the channel was in a state of chaos. Saw that I had seen
the need to op up, and did so himself. This is common practice.

> My intent wasn't to stir up trouble. I anticipated the response but
> that doesn't mean I deserved it. When one sees an injustice, however,
> then one should speak out and damn the consequence. Especially if it's
> an authority. Not doing so is how people like the Nazis gained power.

While it may not have been your intent, it is what resulted. You chose
to perceive an injustice, when there was none and decided to speak out,
against my speaking out.

Thank You for invoking Godwin's Law with that last sentence. (PS. Which
is inaccurate anyway, as they gained vigilante power before they were an
authority -- they used it to gain authority).

> Regards,
> anto9us

Melissa Draper


Phone: 0404 595 395
(intl): +61 404 595 395

P.O Box 1412
Lavington, NSW 2641

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